Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Tulane- Mississippi State Wrap Up

Time to Panic!

Well what can you say? Some quick thoughts before Notre Dame kicks off.
I guess the QB is going to take some heat from some quarters- and yes, he did throw two crippling interceptions- and if you remember, I have the over-under for "Ricard’s crippling interceptions" at six through the first half of the season- and I bet in retrospect his TD pass won’t look so good in the morning (how can a guy get behind your safeties when you have a fourteen point lead?). But we ought to relax a titch- he’s not the first RS sophomore to see the elephant and cringe a bit.

But again, anyone who watched Ricard in practice- well, I assure you, right now this is what he is. Great tools- did you see that first pass rocket downfield. But he isn’t quarterback-ish. His feet move around. He looks ungainly and unconfident at times- and we should finally be able to bury any suggestion that Irwin is substantially less athletic/mobile- if anything he throws better on the move than Ricard. He doesn’t have a lot of touch exactly- and why is he being asked to make a touch throw on 3rd and Goal late in the first half when everyone in the building knows that is not his strength? He has a gorgeous arm and terrific size- but not too much polish.

As to the rest of it- well, the defense looked improved at times. They flat out played well in the first half. The second half was increasingly ragged. Teams seem to still be able to run on us- but it never seemed crazy- until late- like last year. We still are weak at corner. But they certainly run better- and considering we played lots of freshman up front, we did okay on the DL. There was some pressure on the QB- and they competed most of the time. Let’s put it this way, it is the sort of effort that will beat Army and A&M.

If the quarterback is overwhelmed- it is hard to evaluate the receivers. I thought the OL played decent-plus in the first half. We ran the ball well in spots early- but once we got down multiple scores in the second half- and MSU lost any fear of Ricard’s ability to hurt them, they pushed eight guys in the box and sold out coming for the QB- and our OL could not handle that. But in the first half- when they were still able to run a functional mixture of run/pass- the OL was okay.

All in all, it was a tough spot- and unfortunately they played "like it was a tough spot." It was not the kind of game they could win with the QB turning it over one time in both red zones- that was fourteen point swing and 90% of the difference tonight.

I gotta go now- the Skull of Mike IV wants to watch OSU.